New Delhi: A four-member delegation of the JNU students reached the Ministry of Human Resource Development on Monday evening to submit their demands to the Joint Secretary following a day-long protest over the proposed hike in hostel fees spilled onto the streets of Delhi.
The protestors who were marching from the university campus to the Parliament, ultimately reached the HRD Ministry at Shastri Bhawan to meet Joint Secretary GC Hosur and raise their concern.
Requesting to take back the fee hike to Hosur in their memorandum, the JNU delegation said, “We appeal to you to endorse our just demands & prevail upon MHRD to act & resolve the crisis. JNU students cannot survive with the present structure of fees.”
“The reality of that rollback is that virtually no fee has come down. The monthly hostel and mess expenses of students are set to rise from Rs 2,700 per month on an average to Rs 5,500 a month,” the JNUSU further contended in their memorandum.
“The most shameful part of this whole episode is that the university administration is not coming to the table or dialogue with protesting students despite repeated calls and even the intervention of the Delhi Police to mediate,” it alleged targetting the varsity administration.
Entry and exit at Jor Bagh and Lok Kalyan Marg stations of the Delhi Metro were also temporarily suspended after the DMRC already shut down services at Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk, and Central Secretariat to take stock of the traffic.
Delhi Police’s Joint Commissioner Devesh Chandra Srivastava told IANS that police and the student leaders reached an understanding on Monday evening that a JNU delegation would be taken to the HRD Ministry amid security and the ministry officials also agreed to meet them.
“After protracted persuasive tactics and the general approach of physical containment by Police, students mostly seemed convinced, but a group of them suddenly broke away and somehow managed to proceed towards New Delhi area through the Aurobindo Marg,” stated Delhi Police.
“They were effectively stopped and contained at Safdarjung Tomb. However, some agitated groups still attempted to forcibly break barricades again. Around 100 students were detained for showing aggressive defiance to the directions of the police,” Delhi Police added.
Hundreds of JNU students protesting in Delhi’s Lutyens were held by the police this afternoon, and later released, for carrying posters and chanting anti-fee hike slogans. Students also alleged of lathi charge and a video surfaced where the police were seen beating up the protesting students.
However, the police said that it acted with restraint throughout the clash and did not use water cannons, tear gas shells or lathi-charge at any stage of the protest.
Security has been tightened since morning as it also happens to be the first day of the winter session of the Parliament. Hundred of troops were deployed outside the JNU campus and Section 144 was imposed near the Parliament to prevent any incidents of violence.
Earlier in the day, Education Secretary from the Ministry of Human Resource Department R Subrahmanyam said, “MHRD has appointed a high power committee for discussion with students and administration for peaceful resolution of all issues.”
After a row over the hostel fee hike broke out last week, the charges were rolled back, albeit only partially. Room rents were subsequently halved for students belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category.
However, the protesting students called the partial rollback of fees an eyewash to hide the actual price hike.